Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dorsch, Nina G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Elementary school teachers--In-service training--Illinois--Attitudes


This qualitative dissertation investigated first-hand experiences of nine tenured teachers, from one elementary school district in northern Illinois, engaged in the mandated Illinois teacher certificate renewal process. The study was designed to explore the perceptions of their professional growth as related to impact on their teaching practices and affecting student achievement. Teachers shared their experiences and perceptions of the recertification process through respondent profiles, individual in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, and reflective statements. Data was collected from May 2002 through January 2003. Analysis of the data revealed three common themes: (1) the mandated teacher certificate renewal process provided a uniform framework for teacher professional development; (2) the process afforded the teachers the opportunity to establish focus and ownership of their professional development plan; and (3) the certificate renewal process created minimal impact on their day-to-day teaching activities. Consistent with the research on professional growth and development, these teachers asserted that successful professional development must support day-to-day teaching practices. They concurred that “theory based” coursework had little or no impact on their daily teaching practices. Instead they perceived the need for professional development to be job embedded, envisioning themselves as engaged learners, to broaden their repertoire of methods of teaching to ensure effective student learning. This study suggests that the mandated Illinois certificate renewal process has the potential for overall positive effects, as it encourages teachers to keep up with current trends in education and discourages complacency. However, for the teachers in this study, the mandated recertification plan lacked measurable impact on student learning. The fundamental goal of the mandated Illinois certificate renewal plan should encompass participation in continued professional development opportunities that are job embedded, sustained, more in-depth, and ultimately enhance student learning.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 115-126)


viii, 175 pages




Northern Illinois University

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